www.baltimoresun.com/news/opinion/readersrespond/bs-ed-miracle-letter-20121130,0,1349852.story

baltimoresun.com

Miracles often require science and tax dollars

12:30 PM EST, December 2, 2012

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It's wonderful that in our age of instant communication, digital reality and unmanned aerial warfare, there are still those who believe in miracles. And yes, miracles are very real, though infrequent. I'm one who's also hoping for the complete recovery of Teresa Bartlinski ("Call for a miracle," Nov. 29).

However, it is important to credit the "miracle" of modern science that has made this adopted girl's survival possible. I also consider it a "miracle" that the Bartlinski family can pay for all the medical care and upcoming operation out of pocket and were able to go into enormous debt doing so. It's refreshing and humbling the Bartilinski's have not relied on any help from the government or taxpayer funded programs. God bless them.

Unfortunately, the rest of us are not as fortunate, and when tragedy strikes or sickness occurs, a safety net is also a miracle. During the recent presidential campaign, much was said on the Republican side about faith-based assistance, which they considered preferable to Medicare, Medicaid and other government programs.

In rare cases like that of the deeply religious Bartlinski family, government safety nets can be avoided, but it would be wrong to make this the only option. Also, what will happen to the debt the family has already accrued? Will they eventually declare bankruptcy to wipe out their obligations?

It would be wonderful, indeed, if communities and religious organizations could fund the needs of the sick, impoverished and disabled, but that miracle isn't about to happen. Nevertheless, it was fascinating to read how one family is able to take on such a burden. They deserve so much credit — but not if they decide to declare bankruptcy to eliminate their indebtedness. This story has two sides, one the belief in miracles and the other a hard appraisal of reality.

Rosalind Heid, Baltimore